The United Kingdom registered nearly 40,000 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours on Wednesday, a record when the death rate hit its highest level since April as the country prepares for a new strain of coronavirus that experts say is far more contagious.
With 39,237 new confirmed coronavirus infections according to government data, this is the most that the state has reported since the beginning of the pandemic.
Wednesday marked the second day in a row, the UK broke its one-day record.
A staggering 236,275 tested positive over the past week in the UK, more than a 61% increase in infections detected in the previous seven days.
Another 744 people died from coronavirus-related complications on Wednesday, the highest one-day death since late April.
Officials blame most of the wave for a new, mutated strain of coronavirus that could be as much as 70% more contagious than other variants.
Although the strain is believed to be more contagious, there is no evidence that it is more dangerous, causes more severe symptoms, or is less susceptible to vaccines.
A new strain of coronavirus has also been detected in Denmark, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week that concerns about the mutation pushed him to return London and much of southern England under strict blockades to prevent further spread of the virus. Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries around the world prevented travelers from the UK from crossing their borders. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the United Kingdom counted 2.1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and a total of 69,156 deaths, which is one of the most severely affected countries in Europe since the pandemic.
U.S. officials warned this week that a new strain of coronavirus identified in the UK and other European countries may have already crossed the Atlantic. Chief Civil Servant for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that Americans need to be careful and “suppose he is already here. Later that day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that they had not found cases of the new strain in the state, but that it was possible that it had already infected people in the United States without being detected.
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